Prevention – Is addiction inevitable?

Just added another page…called “Prevention”

This blogsite suggests that addiction is the consequence, most often, of maltreatment in childhood.

The “hole in the soul” is often the result of poor attachment to caregivers in early childhood, or the effect of abuse or trauma in childhood.

 

it should not hurt to be a child 362015_f260

This reduces a brain chemical called oxytocin”the love chemical” which moderates stress levels in the brain and the effect stress has on dopamine, two of the most important brain chemicals in addiction.

We suggest in many articles on this blog that this “hole in the soul” is not only a brain chemical deficit but that this creates a problem with processing emotion, something akin to alexithymia – the reduced ability to identify, label and describe/verbalize emotions.

This emotion processing deficit is very common to all addictive behaviours, not only substance addiction but sex, gambling and eating disorders etc.

Thus this emotion processing means some children are vulnerable to later addiction may not use emotion to guide behaviour.

If you cannot differentiate emotion or what you are feeling then it is like a distress like state which prompts “fight or flight” responding rather than recruiting the prefrontal cortex in reasonable, rational decision making. If you constantly make poor decisions you constantly resort to maladaptive behaviours like substance abuse to eternally regulate your emotions, you fix your feelings via activities which help escape, avoid, or cope with negative emotions.

How can we prevent this in vulnerable children, often children of alcoholic and addicts etc? We teach emotion processing and regulation skills from childhood, in nursery, kintergarten and primary/junior schools.

I believe if we start doing this and also do this with their parents we can perhaps alter the seemingly inevitable course of addiction. Alcoholics and addicts use substances and behaviours to cope, we can instead teach coping strategies and emotion regulation strategies so that we do not need to run away from our emotions and our selves.

Please if you need any more help or directing to suitable article then please contact me again. I am very happy and encouraged that some people are considering this approach in their jobs with children, in their schools, recovery communities or other communities.

At the very least it would not hurt children to have the opportunity to express more articulately how they feel and to help them with these often distressing feelings.

Growing up in a family where there is addition is heart breaking and causes untold hurt and distress. Children in these families often need the wider support of communities, whether educational or other.

Addiction is a combination of genetic inheritance and environment. If we change the environmental influence of genetic coding we can then change behaviour, there is a possibility we can help very young people not become addicts in later life.

We are the environment, all of us.

This is my belief.

Paul

Recovery – a need for change?

A need for change?

Addiction is a chronic condition but is treated as if it was an acute disorder. Treatment has become disconnected from the longer processes of recovery. Hence is there a need to redesign “treatment” to address the reality that recovery is a long process, not something that can be treated in weeks or months? Should there be a greater focus on interpersonal and family relationships, especially as they are demonstrated to be a major reason for relapse.

Toward a new Recovery Paradigm?

What do we know about this thing called recovery?

First we have to define recovery, so let’s start with “What is recovery?”  Do we need to move from a pathology and treatment paradigm to a recovery paradigm? Although it is feasible that these paradigms could be interlinking? Or at least considered more than at present.

At present we focus almost exclusively on what is wrong with addicts not how they get better via recovery and the ways in which they get better too? We need more research to evaluate the processes in recovery, the different types of recovery, we need research into the success of recovery, i.e. how many people actually recover, the durability of recovery etc.

We need to clearly say where we are headed and what we can hope for by coming into recovery!

We could fill libraries with what we know about the neurobiology of addiction but barely a library shelf with what we know about recovery from addiction.

 What exactly do we know about the neurobiology of recovery?

In recovery are there any ways recovering persons can help with altering vulnerabilities, such as developing the verbalising of emotion, to help with emotion processing and regulation which we know have a aetiological influence of the risk of later addiction?

In short can we affect the epigenetics of addiction (how genes are expressed in environments) by recovery? Can we reduce the stress that potentiates dopamine and reward and acts as a vulnerability to adolescent drinking which in itself is linked to later alcoholism? Can we counter the child maltreatment and insecure attachment that propels addiction?

So many questions remain unanswered. Can the people who suffer addiction, in recovery, be the most potent agents in actually affect vulnerability to later addiction? Can certain, seemingly unavoidable eventualities be addressed and changed?

Can our recoveries help our at risk children? Can we modify the effects of genetic inheritance? Is it inevitable that addiction occurs, can it not be “treated” in early childhood. Can we intervene to disrupt or alter the course of addiction?

This is the research question of the next decade?